Sunday, April 15, 2012

Franklin Was Here

Every two years, our Sunflower Knitter's Guild has a big knitting event - conference, vendors, classes and all-round fun event called "Knitting in the Heartland." This year we were thrilled to bring in Franklin Habit, whom I have long admired in reading his blog.

Well his classes filled so fast that I only managed to get into one of them, which was "Lace Edgings" but I had the privilege of hearing his keynote address on Friday night as well. He is really into knitting and deciphering historical knitting patterns. As he pointed out, what other place but an event like "Knitting in the Heartland" could a group be held spellbound on a Friday night, listening to tales about nupps and how to fix forgotten yarnovers?

He brought along his knitted Victorian sleeping cap, and Pineapple bag. Things that if anyone else had pulled out of their knitting bag, I would have walked away shaking my head and thinking "o-k-a-y" . . . . but with him, he is so charismatic that he makes you want to go immediately download the pattern. And I did . . . . but I didn't get so far as actually pulling the yarn from my stash and casting on. No. Why? Because I was inspired by so many other projects that people at the event were wearing that I might have more immediate ability to replicate and actually wear. But still, Franklin inspires, is fascinating and greatly expands one's knowledge, curiousity, and he's absolutely funny and brilliant in that zany sort of way that is always refreshing. Being inspired by him leads me to get off the beaten knitting track and try some different things than I normally wouldn't consider.

The class on Lace Edgings was amazing. I was so rusty on lace knitting that I forgot how to read a chart, so the start of the class was rocky for me, but I just watched my Saundra sitting next to me, and eventually caught on to most of it. All I can say is "wow!" Franklin really knows how to take a plain baby sweater or bonnet . . . and jazz it up with some lace embellishments.

Taking this class caused me to hanker, once again, to read Nancy Wiseman's book called, "Lace in the Attic" . . . . a beloved notebook of Victorian lace edgings that she was given and transcribed into modern day instructions. Reading this book is any knitter's fantasy . . . of finding an old knitting journal in a historical home's attic . . . . and then actually sitting down and deciphering the stitches . . . (heavy sigh).

But all the talk of lace this weekend is drawing me even more to attempt the Aeolian Shawl that I've had in my knitting queue for 3 years and I just keep putting off making it. But at the vendor market, I got this lovely seashell colored silk from a vendor called Lost in the City that is luring me to try lace once again. It's been too long.

Oh shoot, do I really have to go to work tomorrow? Much rather stay home, start a lace shawl while listening to a Jane Austin novel on Audiobook.

Oh well , back to reality. At least the weekend was idyllic.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Trying Some New Stuff - Three Projects Started

Well, after finishing a big project like my Garter Stitch Cardigan, I always feel a bit at "loose ends" especially since that project involved spinning AND knitting together.

It took me a few weeks to get my craft mojo back and to focus enough on what I want to do next. Those "wannas" turn out to be not one but THREE projects.

My trip to Jeff City and my class with Carol Rhoades on Shetland Spinning for Fair Isle Knitting made me want to knit . . . . well, you guessed it, Fair Isle. Particularly the Fair Isle Vest that I've been wanting to knit for several years. But after being inspired by Carol's carding and spinning lessons, I want to dye, card, spin and knit the cardy, so that one may not be an immediate "get it done fast" project.

So what to do with my needles in the meantime? Well, I got that figured out today. Again, I want to knit with handspun and dyed yarn . . . and I've been wanting to make a shawl for my Mom in green, so this weekend, I started gathering up on green yarns I've spun, little bits and bobs of spinning experiments I've done these past couple of years. And I will probably need to dye and spin even more. But I've found the perfect pattern to make - the Spinner's Simple Shawl. I will post more on it later and get some pictures up once I have a chance.

Finally, the third project is one for my 24" Kromski Harp loom. I wanted to warp that thing and make a vest -- maybe even try to make the fabric and then sew it up. Am I getting overzealous? Only time and effort will tell. But I've warped the loom with some beautiful pink Cherry Hill yarn my Mom bought and stashbusted by giving it to me a couple of years ago. It's called "Cherry Blosom." Beautiful multi shades of pink! Yum. I am both warping and wefting with this lovely stuff and hope to come up with something wearable in the end. It would be a real tragedy if I goofed up this project because the yarn is nearly as beautiful as the blossoms it is named after.

Well, it's been a busy relaxing and crafting weekend. Happy Easter everyone! I'll write later about my progress on these new projects.